Goodbye Cyclades - Hello Dodecanese - Astipalaia

Scott-Free’s blog
Steve & Chris
Wed 7 Oct 2009 06:16
36:34.5N 26:23.5E
Wednesday 7th October 2009
Time to head 'home' to Marmaris now - we've had a lovely summer and we're now both feeling like we'd like to tie up somewhere safe and familiar for a while and catch our breath.  Today we are heading for Astipalaia, which means leaving the Cyclades behind and re-enterig the Dodecanese.  It also means a 50nmile trip across the South Eastern Aegean where it has an uninterrupted run down from the North, and therefore usually blows harder than elsewhere where it has islands to slow it down.  That makes the sea a lot more lively!  We are heading North East in a North Westerly wind which will put us on a beam reach - fastest point of sail so should be a fast passage.  It also puts us beam on to the sea though, so not necessarily a comfortable passage!  Today our oilies may see the light of day for the first time in ages!
Getting off the mooring could have been interesting as we were alongside with a raft of two boats in front and a badly parked raft of three behind.  The wind was blowing us off the quay though, and we let the lines go and drifted easily out of the gap.  The Germans on a charter boat on the opposite quay were making a dogs dinner of leaving their stern-to mooring, and paying no attention to what else was going on, so they dropped their lines and started to take up their anchor, right across our path - then shouted that WE were giving THEM a problem!  By now we are used to charter boats and Germans (beach towels on sunbed syndrome is alive and well in cruising.)  Steve sidestpped them with a smile and off we went. 
Five minutes later, as we headed out from the harbour, carefully following a safe course between the sunken breakwaters, we could hear shouting, and it was our German friends once again, this time suggesting that we were heading the wrong way.  Knowing that we were using the chartplotter to retrace exactly our path into the harbour, we ignored them, and watched as they went right across the top of the breakwater.  Luckily for them they had enough depth and got across safely.  We hoped they were not heading the same way as us!
We put 2 reefs in the main and unfurled three quarters of the yankee and had a cracking sail in a steady NW F5-6. As expected the seas were quite big so it was a wet crossing and we realised this was the first serious sailing we'd done since the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea!
We arrived in the anchorage at Maltezana in Astipalaia late afternoon, and got the anchor down on the third attempt (lots of weed).  It was a very gusty anchorage so we set the anchor alarm, had supper and had an early night.